The first steps towards building Ripon’s new swimming pool were taken today, as testing of the ground conditions started on-site.
Arguably the most regular swimmer at the ageing Ripon Spa Baths, city resident Pamela Simpson Phillips has welcomed the news that progress is being made towards building a brand new pool and leisure facilities.
Pamela has been visiting the more than 113-year-old Spa Baths every day since she moved to Ripon 18 years ago, and is excited to see the new pool being built next to Ripon Leisure Centre.
She said: “I am happy we are getting a new pool, we deserve it - our pool now, bless its heart, is on its last legs. I think it will attract a lot of new people going to see what it’s like.
“And with new houses being built, Ripon is going to get bigger and we need these facilities. I can’t wait to have a spanking new pool.”
“They’ve tried their hardest to keep the pool we have open, but it will be nice to get a new one with hopefully up to date facilities that will all be under one roof.”
The survey work being carried out over the next four to six weeks will see some sections of the leisure centre car park being cordoned off, but the centre will remain open.
The new five lane, 25-metre pool is expected to be finished by December next year, and other facilities will include a sauna, three new studios for fitness classes, and an expanded cardiovascular gym.
Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, Coun Stanley Lumley, said: “This is the first ground investigation work to take place at the site and represents the first visible signs of delivering the much needed new pool and revitalised leisure centre for Ripon.
“The new wet and dry complex will provide a massive boost to health and wellbeing in Ripon and the surrounding area.
“The survey work will involve some minor disruption in the car park to enable drilling to take place but it will be worth it for the end result of a great new addition to the city.”
The plans for the leisure complex also include re-laying the outdoor football pitch, creating more changing rooms, and opening a new children’s play area.
A consultation by Harrogate Borough Council revealed in May last year that 89 per cent of those surveyed said they would use the new facilities, but only 66 per cent said they use the existing ones - suggesting that the new build could drive a fresh interest in swimming and leisure activities for the city.
City Coun Mike Chambers said the new pool has been “long-needed” by residents.